Young Indian team selected for Asian Wrestling Championships 2023
Deepak Punia and Antim Panghal are among the youngsters who will represent India in the continuing absence of the most high-profile wrestlers.
Young wrestlers Deepak Punia and Antim Panghal will spearhead the Indian team at the Asian Wrestling Championships 2023 in the continuing absence of the country's senior wrestlers. The team for the event in Kazakhstan in April was selected through trials held in New Delhi on Friday and Saturday.
Deepak Punia, a World Championship medal winner in the past, Anshu Malik and Sarita Mor are among those who had earlier said they were not ready to compete in international events in the light of the recent fallout between the players and the federation to have made it to the team through the trials.
U20 world champion Antim Panghal and U23 world champion Aman Sehrawat are also among those in the squad. Aman will represent India in the absence of Olympic silver medalist Ravi Dahiya, who withdrew due to injury, and Antim will be playing in Vinesh Phogat's place.
Olympic bronze medalist Bajrang Punia and senior women wrestlers Vinesh and Sakshi Malik all skipped the trials this week. All of these wrestlers had had opted out of the first two ranking series tournaments of the year in Zagreb and Cairo as well, thus sacrificing ranking points that will help them secure quota for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
During their three-day protest at Jantar Mantar in January, the wrestlers said that they will not compete in any national or international tournament till the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is disbanded and its chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is sacked.
The issue continues to drag on even as the Asian Championships had to be shifted abroad due to the pending inquiry by the Indian Sports Ministry against the WFI.
At the last Asian Championships in 2022, Indian wrestlers won 17 medals. Ravi Dahiya had won India’s only gold.
Indian wrestling team
Women: Neelam (50kg), Antim Panghal (53kg), Sito (55kg) Anshu Malik (57kg), Sarita Mor (59kg), Sonam Malik (62kg), Manisha (65kg), Nisha (68kg), Reetika (72kg), Priya (76kg)
Men's freestyle: Aman Sehrawat (57kg), Pankaj (61kg), Anuj Kumar (65kg), Mulayam Yadav (70kg), Yash Tushir (74kg), Deepak (79kg), Jonty Kumar (86kg), Deepak Punia (92kg), Deepak Nehra (97kg), Anirudh (125kg).
Greco Roman: Rupin (55kg), Sumit (60kg), Neeraj (63kg), Ashu (67kg), Vikas (72kg), Sajan (77kg), Rohit Dahiya (82kg), Sunil Kumar (87kg), Narender Cheema (97kg), Naveen (130kg)